SCE Unveils Rotating Blackout Web Site and Public Notification Plan

June 19, 2001

June 19, 2001

ROSEMEAD, Calif., June 19, 2001—Southern California Edison (SCE) today unveiled its enhanced Web site and public notification process to help guide the public through possible rotating power blackouts when ordered by the California Independent System Operator (Cal-ISO).

“We have been able to increase significantly the amount of outage information available to our customers, because we want to empower them with critical information to prepare for and safely cope through power blackouts,” said Pam Bass, SCE’s senior vice president of customer service.  “We recognize that the more information customers have before and during rotating outages, the better equipped they will be to address the concerns and safety of their families and employees.”

Bass said customers have indicated they want to know four basic things when rotating blackouts occur: the location, the duration, whether it affects them, and what they should and should not do to safely get through the outages.  SCE offers several information resources that address these concerns—through toll-free phone lines, through news media updates, and now through an expanded, user-friendly rotating outage Web site. 

All of these sources will tell customers that the outages rotate among electrical circuits across SCE’s vast service area for about one hour, as directed by Cal-ISO.  They will also list the likely affected customer groups and communities, and even provide geographic maps outlining the specific neighborhoods.  Customers will also be able to access practical tips on how to prepare and function safely through outages. 

Customers can find out the group their home or business is assigned to by identifying their alphanumeric Rotating Outage Group Number, which now appears directly under the customer’s name and address in the top left corner of the bill’s front page.  When Cal-ISO predicts possible rotating outages, SCE will immediately announce which groups may be affected through its outage hotline—(800) 611-1911—its Web site—www.sce.com—and through the news media. 

When outages are forecasted or actually begin, customers can determine if their group is part of the current outage or likely to be included in the next round, since SCE generally interrupts groups in numerical order, with some exceptions.  For example, customers can now hear on the morning news whether Cal-ISO is predicting outages for the day.  By calling the hotline or checking www.sce.com, they can learn which groups would likely be interrupted if circumstances turn out as predicted.  If their group number is on the list of groups likely to be interrupted, the customer could take steps to prepare for the likelihood of rotating blackouts affecting their home or business that particular day.

It should be noted that group numbers may change without advance notice for operational reasons or when state regulators revise their policy regarding customers exempted from blackouts.  SCE will notify customers of such changes as quickly as practical.  

Visitors to SCE’s customer Web site, www.sce.com, will find the following helpful enhancements: 

  • The site displays outage group numbers and corresponding communities affected during recent, current, and predicted rotating outage incidents.  
  • When customers click on the name of a community affected by an outage, they are taken to a detailed street map of the affected circuit.
  • The Web site offers general outage information and links, including outage preparation and safety tips, grid status information from Cal-ISO, frequently asked questions about rotating outages, and conservation tips.
  • A dynamic home-page pop-up window will change messages depending on state power conditions.  For example, during a Stage 2 Emergency, customers will be directed to information about potential outages.  During a Stage 3 Emergency in which rotating outages are underway, the box will provide a hotlink to group numbers and communities currently affected and likely to be affected should outages likely continue.

For customers who don’t have Internet access, SCE provides essentially the same Web site information through an automated outage phone line, (800) 611-1911.  This service makes it possible to obtain outage information immediately without waiting.  Among major features:

  • Customers can call at any time to learn the Rotating Outage Group Number assigned to their home or business.
  • When customers experience a power blackout, they can call to determine whether they are part of a rotating outage incident or if their circuit has been affected by a routine interruption such as a car or construction accident. 
  • During rotating blackouts, customers can learn if their circuit is currently affected or may be affected in the coming hours and which portions of specific communities may be affected.
  • When customers call, they should have their account number and group number handy.  However, if customers call during a rotating outage incident and do not know their group number, they will be able to obtain information by entering their zip code.

SCE’s media relations office has developed strategic communications partnerships with radio and television stations that provide frequent live updates to the public, including information about circuit groups affected or likely to be affected by outages.

It should be further noted that while SCE is committed to providing as much advance public notification about pending rotating blackouts, it can only do so as it receives timely notification from Cal-ISO.